The 68-year-old former Awami League general secretary had been suffering from stage 4 lung cancer
Syed Ashraful Islam, the public administration minister of the previous Cabinet, has died at a hospital in Thailand.
The 68-year-old veteran politician passed away at Bumrungrad International Hospital’s Critical Care Medicine Unit in Bangkok around 9:45pm Bangladesh Standard Time, his cousin Kabir Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune.
According to media reports, his brother Syed Shafayet Islam told reporters that Ashraf’s body will be brought to Dhaka on Saturday.
He has left behind one daughter and a host of relatives to mourn his death.
Suffering from stage 4 lung cancer, the former Awami League general secretary was undergoing treatment at that hospital for the past few months.
Syed Ashraf was the eldest son of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s close associate and national leader Syed Nazrul Islam, who had served as the acting president of Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War.
President Md Abdul Hamid, Awami League President Sheikh Hasina, Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and other members of the previous Cabinet have expressed deep shock over his death.
In separate messages issued on Thursday night, they prayed for salvation of his departed soul and conveyed their sympathy to the bereaved family members.
On Wednesday, Syed Ashraf had sent a letter to the speaker, asking for more time to take his oath of office as the Kishoreganj 1 MP. The speaker on Thursday administered oath to 290 newly elected lawmakers of the 11th parliament.
Even though he was absent before and during Sunday’s 11th general election, Syed Ashraf had emerged the winner from that seat.
He had taken his leave of absence from the House on September 18, before leaving for Bangkok to receive medical treatment.
Syed Ashraf had steered the Awami League when it plunged into a crisis in 2007 during the regime of the military-controlled caretaker government.
He was elected MP from Kishoreganj 1 constituency five times - 1996, 2001, 2008, 2014 and 2018. In Sunday's election, the AL leader came out successful from the parliamentary seat.
Later in 2009, he was made the general secretary of the party. After he served in that position in two consecutive terms, Sheikh Hasina made him a Presidium member of the party.
Syed Ashraf’s wife Sheila Islam died of cancer at a London hospital on October 22 last year. He has been suffering from illness since then.
He was made LGRD and Cooperatives Minister after Awami League formed the government through the December-29 election in 2008. He was given the charge of the same ministry after the party won the January-5 election in 2014.
Syed Ashraf was, however, removed from the ministry on July 9, 2015 and made a minister without portfolio.
A week later, he was made the Public Administration Minister.